That Old Horse Trade
Matt Prater

We are what others metaphored in us, all 
the translated patterns of their passing world.
No one who hocks or haggles, needing to,
trades horses anymore (at least round here),
but each of us knows the assail and assay
of materials, the battering and bending
of the world to our particular price. 
A whole wide wrought iron world
was worn to warp and rust before 
we knew that we would never know it,
and despite any knowledge of the past
that anyone tried to install, of the churn
or the homemade candle or the pruning saw,
the best most did was to instill a ghost
or some idea of the work in some new hand,
the doing of things outliving those things done. 
Like today, when I opened up the county Trade Times,
and between the ads for an AK-47, collections
of VHS and Beanie Babies, and an under-table
home upholstery business, was a personal ad
from a "middle aged country woman." "My daddy 
was an auctioneer," she told us, "so I know 
when a man is trying to put one over."

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